Credit card ‘skimmers’ found at ML gas station

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MOSES LAKE — The Moses Lake Police Department says two credit card "skimmers" were found at a gas station over the weekend.

Police believe the skimmers were placed on two pumps at the Chevron gas station on West Prichard Road sometime Friday night, as a tamper resistant seal was recently broken on the pumps. Officers do not currently know if any information was stolen while the skimmers were hooked up and encouraged anyone who purchased gas at the Chevron station to check their bank statements for possible fraudulent charges.

“Credit card skimmers are devices that will steal credit card and PIN information from credit card readers,” explained the MLPD. “Gas stations are typical targets for thieves, since they are rarely attended 24 hours a day. It just takes a moment for an experienced thief to install a skimmer that can harvest hundreds of credit cards an hour.”

The Federal Trade Commission offers the following tips to avoid being skimmed:

• Ensure the gas pump panel is closed and doesn’t show signs of potential tampering.

• Examine the card reader itself and see if it is similar to other card readers at the gas station.

• Wiggle the card reader before you insert your card. If the reader moves, report it to an employee.

• If using a debit card, run the card as a credit card instead of using a PIN number. If that is not possible, cover the area where the PIN number is entered to avoid being recorded by possible cameras put up by the person who installed the skimmer.

• Monitor your credit card and bank accounts regularly.

• Pay inside the store or use a gas pump near the front of the store, as the FTC states thieves may target pumps that are harder for the gas station employee to see.

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